BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Like many other small businesses, the pandemic shutdown forced Queen City Escape Room (3831 South Park Ave., Blasdell) to adapt its business model.
“We had no idea when we’d be able to open again,” said Dominic Luongo, owner and CEO of Queen City Escape Room. “We pulled out the old drawing board and had brainstorming sessions and came up with the idea of the online escape games.”
The online games have been such a success for the business that they’ve shifted their entire focus, Luongo said.
“Just the idea of having a game you can play from anywhere, it’s something that I feel is going to open up a lot of doors for us,” he added.
Queen City Escape Room launched a new online escape room this month.
“An Office Escape Room Misadventure” has users play as “The Temp”, a new addition to an office full of “wacky characters”.
In the game, a suspicious co-worker has locked everyone in the office due to missing office supplies, and leaves you to solve a series of puzzles to get to the bottom of it.
The game is made for one to four players and is family-friendly, Luongo added.
There’s also no time limit, unlike traditional escape room games. The cost to play “An Office Escape Room Misadventure” is $9.99- less than the price of admission for one to an in-person escape experience.
Queen City Escape Room launched its first online escape room, “Shadow Out of Time” last April.
Luongo, who serves as gamemaster for the escape room, created the games himself.
“It was me and an ocean of coffee sitting in front of my computer for the last six months,” he said. “I had to do everything from the character design to the eight-bit animation, teaching myself to code, learning the HTML- it was quite the journey.”
With the success of the online games, Luongo says he’s not sure when or if the business will return to in-person games.
“I’m really good at puzzle design, but terrible with crystal balls,” he joked. “We’re focusing on the online escape games right now, and after that, who knows?”
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.